Saudi Arabia’s Prince Khaled Bin Talal, the brother of businessman Al-Waleed Bin Talal, was released on Friday and the pair allowed to meet after their meetings were previously banned.
His release was reported by Al-Quds Al-Arabi, citing high-level sources. Khaled Bin Talal has been detained since January and has refused to make concessions in order to be referred to a court of law. His brother Al-Waleed Bin Talal, on the other hand, appears to have reached an agreement with Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman (MBS).
Unlike other Saudi princes who were arrested on accusations of corruption, Prince Khaled was arrested for criticising the Crown Prince’s policy of arresting princes and businessmen, without bringing them to justice.
This comes in the context of the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October and the increasing international pressure placed on MBS following speculation as to his involvement in the brutal murder. It also reflects the desire of his father, King Salman, to avoid sanctions from Washington over the Khashoggi case.
The release of Prince Khaled, son of Talal Bin AbdulAziz – King Salman’s brother – may be part of American pressure on Riyadh after Saudi Arabia admitted to killing Khashoggi and the Kingdom’s subsequent decision to keep Bin Salman in office. The plan is thought to have been conveyed by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his last visit to Riyadh.
Prince Ahmed Bin AbdulAziz, the brother of King Salman, appears to be playing an important role in releasing the detainees after he returned to Riyadh from his exile in London with international guarantees. Senior princes also met to exchange views on the future of the Kingdom and the monarchy, after Mohammad Bin Salman had previously put them under close surveillance and prevented meetings between them.
At the same time, King Salman may be contributing to this policy to curb the power of his son, the Crown Prince Bin Salman.